Beginning in the Fall 2021 semester, Coastal Alabama Community College students will have the opportunity to take courses aimed at a brand-new Bachelor of Culinary Science degree at Auburn University. The courses are part of a new articulation agreement the college signed with Auburn, which is building a new culinary instruction facility which will house state of the art kitchens, agricultural instruction as part of farm-to-table curriculum and even game day condos.
“If your goal is to work in or run, a kitchen, it’s much better to have gotten the direct hands-on advanced experience you will get through a bachelor’s degree,” said Ed Douglas, director and chair of the Hospitality Division at Coastal Alabama Community College.
For a decade the College has had agreements with Auburn related to hospitality or event planning, as well as with the University of South Alabama, the University of Alabama, the University of North Alabama and Troy University. Those agreements were focused on pathways related to associate’s degrees in Applied Science. But this is the first opportunity for the College’s students to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the culinary field, Douglas said.
Only one other such degree, like Auburn’s, is available statewide, and that’s through the University of North Alabama in Florence. A culinary arts agreement with that university is expected to be announced later this year, he said. Careers in that field can range from daily kitchen staff all the way to upper-level management.
There have been several trips to Auburn organized by the College, to tour its hospitality and agriculture schools and more are expected soon, according to Douglas.
“We’re looking to get students up there to visit their program to take advantage of their facilities and different programs to both enhance our students’ experience and provide professional development for our faculty,” he said.
Locally, Coastal Alabama Community College is currently developing courses to compliment an apprenticeship program recently created by the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce. There are already more than 140 area students signed up for apprenticeships, and the goal is for the College’s students to enroll and use the credits they get through that program toward their eventual culinary degrees at Auburn and the University of North Alabama.